COMMUNITY LEGAL FIELDWORKERS

OVERVIEW

This project aimed to support indigenous peoples and forest communities to realise their rights and be part of the political decision-making processes that affect their lives and the ones of their children. Communities in the Congo Basin often lack legal recognition, with indigenous groups in particular facing systemic discrimination. Unable to effectively negotiate or assert their rights, local communities often face heavy restrictions on everything from occupying land to using natural resources.

Community legal field workers understand community challenges at the legal level and are able to support communities in claiming their basic civil and political rights, non-discrimination, as well as their rights in relation to forest lands and resources. By helping forest communities and indigenous peoples realise their rights, they can better participate in forest management and affect decision-making processes to
improve their living conditions.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 220 paralegals and key local representatives across CAR, Gabon and DRC have been trained.
  • 3500 community members have been trained on various issues affecting their communities.
  • In Gabon, 32 indigenous children have successfully obtained birth certificates.
  • Four communities in Gabon have put their legal knowledge into action by engaging with logging companies and tourism operators, which has resulted in some financial compensation for those impacted.

COMMUNAL RESERVES

OVERVIEW

This project began in 2013 in Selva Central and Vilcabamba range, Peru. Communal reserves offer indigenous communities the ability to manage their own land, empowering them and offering them better security. However, in Peru, communities are not yet receiving these benefits. It has been over 10 years since it was implemented and still so far has failed to bring indigenous peoples the benefits it promised - instead it is actually preventing them from asserting their rights and manage their traditional areas.

There are 10 communal reserves covering approximately 5 million acres of the Amazonian rainforest of Peru. However, this model is not delivering concrete results to local communities. Moreover it precludes them from asserting their rights while extractive industries are operating without serious supervision from the authorities.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Approval of the Management Plan for the Ashaninka Communal Reserve.
  • The project helped stop the illegal process of modification of the communal reserves regulation.
  • A dialogue process to discuss a more participative and informed modification of the communal reserves regulation has been opened.